Drill Baby Drill

Every time I write a sentence to contextualize the oil disaster in the Gulf, I erase it. It would be easy to use this event to further a political agenda, especially given that unlike people pointing to Obama I have a historian’s eye view and can actually point to trade agreements, economic systems, war decisions, etc. that predate him and are almost all made and perpetuated by Republicans. Certainly all of us can remember Palin’s chant to “drill baby drill” from only a year ago. And yet, this partisan politics seem to be both childish and offensive in the face of the devastation. Estimates related to the amount of oil spilled already and the impact on wildlife, fragile ecosystems, and the fishing industry alone should bring all the finger pointing to an end and mobilize anyone who can to get to the coast to help. Not surprisingly, when you stop watching mainstream media, that is exactly what we are seeing. The national guard, environmentalist organizations, activists (including Kevin Costner, who has invested in a machine that can separate water from oil), and volunteers are working around the clock to try and stop further contamination of the Ocean, Wetlands, and Gulf and to clean and rescue as many animals as they can. While mainstream media fans the flames of partisan politics and the President looks perturbed while claiming BP is obligated to do what we want, real people are out there fighting to preserve an already fragile ecosystem.

For the rest of us, there is a lesson in what is going on in the Gulf: global capitalism neither cares about people nor plants and animals. Everything is an exploitable resource and every corner that can be cut will be to make the profit that much larger. More than that, the media and the paid blogging political pundits will always mobilize to distract you from the lives lost (human and animal) and the long term impact in order to get you caught up in finger pointing. Whether it is the distraction of the supposedly criminal “illegal aliens” running amuck that keeps you from questioning how laissez faire capitalism, international lending, and free trade agreements have created a global devaluing of workers, increased exploitation of workers, women, and children, and forced chosen and unchosen massive migration of labor that depends on them being unbound by borders, or the “unmoved President” whose lack of action somehow both caused the spill and failed to address it afterward that keeps you from asking questions about oil dependence, exploitation of already vulnerable populations, the ongoing consolidation of power over governments by corporate interests, and profit over people, the bottom line is that finger pointing is not only futile but also keeps the systems of power that let this happen in place.

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Link Luv Sunday

A lot went on in our world while I was sick and/or overworked (yes including all the late diss chapters I had to read during Spring Break, cue violins) so I thought some link love was in order to cover some of the issues I have not here at the blog and to honor some of the voices holding it down across the internet. Since it is still Women’s History Month and yours truly has failed so miserably in doing her own feminist spotlight posts, I have linked to several folks who did use their blogs to honor and highlight specific women throughout the month.

  • Swandiver – Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow highlights a talk by Alexander about her new book and the civil rights inequities that remain in the U.S. through the loopholes provided in the prison-industrial-complex
  • National Center for Transgender Equality – breaks down what the new Health Care Reform Bill means for trans communities trying to meet their health care needs
  • Guerilla Mama – “The Buddha, The Dharma, and the Sangha” – a painfully poetic discussion about the intersections of race, class, gender, nation, love, and family through the eyes of a black immigrant who survives an attempted rape (trigger warning)
  • Alexis – Happy Birthday Toni Cade Bambara – another informative and celebratory contribution from Alexis and her Black Feminist Mind Project
  • Vivir Latino – “19 years without justice” – 19 year old hate crime against a Dominican youth still not solved, yet his mother keeps the pressure on
  • Vegan About Town – Nacho Cheese Dip and Nacho Cheese Nachos because I was sick most of the week and unable to eat much, I got really enthralled by blogs about food (what the comic industry has referred to as food porn blogs b/c they make you drool) and I was particularly excited by how yummy Steph made this recipe sound since I am a picky eater & don’t eat anything with too much melted vegan cheese because of the melt quality (I like almond based cheeses for eating & soy based for melting but the latter only in small amounts)
  • Asian American Lit Fans – much like Feminist Review, this livejournal site offers accessible reviews of new and old fiction by API Americans and should just be a must read in general for anyone who loves books
  • Nezua – “Invisible: Thoughts on Immigration Rally in DC” – not only does Nezua look at the complexities of the reform in succinct text but he also has a powerful slideshow of photos from the event at the bottom of the post.
  • Viva La Feministe – “The Fly Girls are Finally Golden” – learn about the civilian women who helped win world war II but got little back for their service
  • The Green Belt Movement – “GBM Celebrates International Women’s Day” – truthfully I am just sending you to this blog to give you an example of what decolonized grassroots feminist environmentalism looks like.
  • Claire @ Hyphen Magazines – “Women’s History Month Profiles” – spotlights on Asian American feminists and women activists
  • Mark Anthony Neal  – “Women’s History Month Classic: Say My Name” – I happened to love this film and I teach it pretty regularly as a counterpoint to “the video ho” image of hip hop (of course I also like to trot out Tawny Kitaen for that purpose as well) so it was nice to see someone review this classic as part of women’s history month.
  • Annaham “Invisible Illness and Disability Bingo” – this post is old, but I just got sent there by vegans of color blog, and I have to tell you that as a person with “hidden” disabilities, not only have I experienced everything on that list but, like Damali Ayo’s rent-a-negro cards, I wish I had a stack of these to pass out to co-workers and family members whenever they made light of what it is like to be differently-abled

Happy Reading!

Exile and Pride: Book Giveaway Winner

289_popupThanks to all who wrote both public and private requests for our first book giveaway. I’m glad you all continued to send in your requests despite all of the chaos here at the spot lately. 😀

I just wanted to say to all of you that your stories about why this book would mean something to you, your students, or your friends were truly moving and I wish more of you would have been willing to share those with the rest of the blog.

Our book winner is long time reader/lurker: Anna M.

Anna intends to use the book in a reading group she is starting at her newly opened feminist lending room ( a small room off a coffee shop donated by the coffee shop owner, that will house a lending library of feminist texts). The book will be the first queer feminist disability addition to their lending room and will be the inaugural book in their reading group. Anna hopes it will heal some wounds in her community amongst organizers and encourage diverse groups to participate in the building and sustaining of the feminist lending room.

I wish her and her group the very best. 😀

You can learn more about Exile and Pride here or order it here

Faces of Globalization IV

Instead of images today, I thought I would post a video from India based on a poem written by an indigenous activist fighting mining near his village:

“God of Development, oh pray tell us, how to save our lives” oh wait, you have no answer b/c you are the most false god of them all.

Faces of Globalization III: U.S. Backed FTA Rt.s to Incursions into Amazon Suspended by Peru

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES IN POST

After a violent repression of indigenous protesters in Peru that the BBC says left 40 people dead, 14 police officers dead, and 100 Peruvian activists missing and presumed dead (Amazon Watch numbers: 25 civilians dead, 150 people injured, 150 in custody, and 9 police dead), the Peruvian government suspended two FTA inspired bills that will allow for the expansion of mining, oil drilling, and other industrial exploitation of the land (and ultimately its people) by multinational corporations.

policevsindig

(Police vs. Indigenous Protesters in Peru. Amazon Watch)

The latest violence was in response to Peru’s 48 day long indigenous protests, involving over 1200 indigenous Amazon communities and more than 30 thousands indigenous protesters. In peaceful protests against FTA policies that would further open the Amazon to “development” and exploitation, they blockaded roads and river traffic throughout the Amazon. Earlier FTAs have already resulted in pollution of the land, destruction of ancient indigenous cultures and Afro-Columbian cultures living in the Amazon (altho this conflict is going on in Peru, the Amazon extends into other nations that have already experienced violent repression and removal including Columbia & Ecuador), and exacerbated gender and ethnic conflicts.

Oil_Pollution

(oil spill from FTA allowed drilling in Ecuador/Rothschild)

According to Amazon Watch, eyewitnesses report having seen missing activists bodies being dropped from helicopters into the river to hide how many had been killed from official count. This is a tactic that has been used in other nations whose governments or MNC funded militias have attacked indigenous groups to move them out of the way of corporate flower and produce farms and mining.

deadindig

(People killed in the clash in Peru. ibid)

The same report also cites physicians who said dead and dying patients were carried out of the hospital in secret by police for the same reason. Some of them think the bodies have been stacked in a steep ravine near the hospital for disposal.

At the time of the clash, activists were engaging in a peaceful road blockage to stop encroachment on indigenous lands in the amazon. Road blockage has been an important tool in peaceful protests against NAFTA and CAFTA by indigenous and subsistance level citizens in Latin America who often find their lands and cultures destroyed, their homes demolished or polluted, and subsequently end up homeless rural to urban migrants who eke out a living on others garbage, involvement in low wage or exploitative informal economies, or working for the very companies who displaced them for low wages and often at high health risk. The clashes between peaceful road blockers and police or military has also pointed to how easily governments working to pay back loans or enjoy lucrative kick backs and MNCs, some of whom are willing to pay militias, will meet human beings with little more than locked arms and access to rocks and sticks, with tear gas, gun fire, and air support, all the while claiming that the violence is the fault of the people.

Our government is implicated in these attacks when we continue to push for trade agreements that encourage lawlessness, violence, and profit over people.

You can help by educating yourself about these issues, contacting you congress people, and refusing to by products produced under these conditions. a Full list of actions and how to accomplish them is here.